Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear was elected last year on the promise of what casino gambling revenues could buy for the state. His grand plan died in the legislature, though, when big spenders clashed with “save horse racing with casinos” interests and they could not reconcile their differences.
Plan B for Beshear, it appears, is to clamp down on the scourge of foreign-based internet gambling which he says costs Kentucky tens of millions of dollars a year, competes unfairly with the horse industry, and, presumably, would damage Kentucky’s future casino operations.
His arguments for state seizure of 141 domain names get a hearing Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court and include some nonsense about protecting children and fighting organized crime. He doesn’t, of course, explain how the same protections will work for his brick-and-mortar casinos. One thing is crystal clear: this is all about revenue enhancement.
Beshear’s problems really begin when jurisdictional issues come up. When that happens, it looks a lot like a successful effort here could set off a string of efforts by governments across the globe to seize domains of web sites they don’t like for one reason or another.
That’s why the Bluegrass Institute and Americans for Tax Reform teamed up with five other interested parties for an emergency summit in Frankfort, Kentucky to draw attention to the First Amendment downside of Beshear’s actions.
This exchange between Bluegrass Institute’s Jim Waters and ATR’s Patrick Gleason gets to the heart of the matter:
(click here for video)